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How to write a cover letter for journal submission
Download our cover letter template.
When you submit your article to a journal, you often need to include a cover letter. This is a great opportunity to highlight to the journal editor what makes your research new and important. The cover letter should explain why your work is perfect for their journal and why it will be of interest to the journal’s readers.
When writing for publication, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the manuscript submission process – being sent out for peer review . So it’s worth spending time thinking about how to write a cover letter to the journal editor, to make sure it’s going to be effective.
To help you, we’ve put together a guide to explain how to write a cover letter for journal article submission. You will receive cover letter instructions of what you should include and what you shouldn’t, and a word template cover letter.
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What should my cover letter include?
Before you start to write, please check the instructions for authors (IFAs) of your chosen journal, as not all journals will require one. You should also check the IFAs for any journal specific information on what to include. This may include a list of relevant articles written by you or your co-authors that have been or are currently being considered for publication in other journals.
Key points to include in your letter to the editor:
Editor’s name (you can usually find this on the journal page on Taylor & Francis Online ).
Your manuscript’s title.
Name of the journal you are submitting to.
Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal.
Brief description of the research you are reporting in your paper, why it is important, and why you think the readers of the journal would be interested in it.
Contact information for you and any co-authors .
Confirmation that you have no competing interests to disclose.
Things to avoid:
Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter, instead explain in your own words the significance of the work, the problem that is being addressed, and why the manuscript belongs in the journal.
Don’t use too much jargon or too many acronyms, keep language straightforward and easy to read.
Avoid too much detail – keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page, as an introduction and brief overview.
Avoid any spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is thoroughly proofed before submitting.
Click to enlarge your PDF on key information to include in your cover letter .
Cover letter template
If you need further help to write a cover letter for a journal, you can download and use our sample template as a guide.
You might find that the submission system for your chosen journal requires your cover letter to be submitted into a text box rather than as a separate document, but it is still a good idea to write a draft first to make sure you have included everything.
Always make sure to check the journal’s instructions for authors for any specific additional information to include.
Use our submission checklist to make sure you’ve included everything you need to.
If you need more guidance, take a look at our other information and resources to help you make your submission .
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How to Write a Cover Letter for Journal Submission
If you’re looking for solid advice on how to write a strong journal submission cover letter that will convince journal editors to review your research paper, then look no further! We know that cover letters can impact an editor’s decision to consider your research paper further.
This guide aims to explain (1) why you should care about writing a powerful cover letter, (2) what you should include in it, and (3) how you should structure it. The last segment will include a free downloadable submission cover letter template with detailed how-to explanations and some useful phrases. Finally, be sure to get journal manuscript editing , cover letter editing , and other academic editing services by Wordvice’s professional editors to ensure that you convey an academic style and error-free text, along with including all of the most important content.
Why does a good cover letter matter?
While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.
While your research paper’s role is to prove the merits of your research, a strong introductory cover letter is your opportunity to highlight the significance of your research and “sell” its concept to journal editors.
Sadly, we must admit that part of the decision-making process of whether to accept a manuscript is based on a business model. Editors must select articles that will interest their readers. In other words, your paper, if published, must make money . When it’s not quite clear how your research paper might generate interest based on its title and content alone (for example, if your paper is too technical for most editors to appreciate), your cover letter is the one opportunity you will get to convince the editors that your work is worth further review.
In addition to economic factors, many editors use the cover letter to screen whether authors can follow basic instructions . For example, if a journal’s guide for authors states that you must include disclosures, potential reviewers, and statements regarding ethical practices, failure to include these items might lead to the automatic rejection of your article, even if your research is the most progressive project on the planet! By failing to follow directions, you raise a red flag that you may be careless, and if you’re not attentive to the details of a cover letter, editors might wonder about the quality and thoroughness of your research. This is not the impression you want to give editors!
What to Include in a Cover Letter for a Journal Submission
We can’t stress this enough: Follow your target journal’s instructions for authors ! No matter what other advice you read in the vast webosphere, make sure you prioritize the information requested by the editors of the journal you are submitting to. As we explained above, failure to include required statements will lead to an automatic “ desk rejection ”.
With that said, below is a list of the most common elements you must include in your cover letter and what information you should NOT include:
- Editor’s name (when known)
- Name of the journal to which you are submitting
- Your manuscript’s title
- Article type (review, research, case study, etc.)
- Submission date
- Brief background of your study and the research question you sought to answer
- Brief overview of methodology used
- Principle findings and significance to scientific community (how your research advances our understanding of a concept)
- Corresponding author contact information
- Statement that your paper has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by another journal and that all authors have approved of and have agreed to submit the manuscript to this journal
Other commonly requested information:
- Short list of similar articles previously published by the target journal
- List of relevant works by you or your co-authors that have been previously published or are under consideration by other journals. You can include copies of those works.
- Mention of any prior discussions with editor(s) (for example, if you discussed the topic with an editor at a conference)
- Technical specialties required to evaluate your paper
- Potential reviewers and their contact information
- If needed, reviewers to exclude (this information is most likely also requested elsewhere in online submissions forms)
Other disclosures/statements required by the journal (e.g., compliance with ethical standards, conflicts of interest , agreement to terms of submission, copyright sign-over, etc.)
What you should NOT do:
- Don’t use too much jargon or include too many acronyms.
- Don’t over-embellish your findings or their significance. Avoid words such as “novel,” “first ever,” and “paradigm-changing.” These types of statements show bias and will make the editor question your ability to assess your work’s merits objectively.
- Don’t name-drop. Listing people who might endorse your paper and discussing authors’ reputations do not interest editors. They want to know if your content fits their criteria, so focus solely on addressing that point.
- Don’t write a novel. While you want to adequately explain your work and sell its concept to editors, keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page. The letter is only meant to be an introduction and brief overview.
- Avoid humor . As much as we want to grab the editors’ attention, there are too many ways in which humor can go wrong!
How to Structure a Cover Letter
You should use formal language in your cover letter. Since most submissions are delivered electronically, the template below is in a modified e-mail format. However, if you send your cover letter on letterhead (PDF or hard copy by mail), move your contact information to the upper-left corner of the page unless you use pre-printed letterhead, in which case your contact information should be centered at the top of the letter.
ANNOTATED TEMPLATE Journal Submissions Cover Letter
[Journal Editor’s First and Last Name][, Graduate Degree (if any)] TIP: It’s customary to include any graduate degrees in the addressee’s name. e.g., John Smith, MD or Carolyn Daniels, MPH [Title] e.g., Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Co-Editors-in-Chief [Journal Name] [Journal Address] [Submission Date: Month Day, Year]
Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. [Editor’s last name]:
TIP: Where the editor’s name is not known, use the relevant title employed by the journal, such as “Dear Managing Editor:” or “Dear Editor-in-Chief:”. Using a person’s name is best, however.
TIP: Use “Ms.” and never “Mrs.” or “Miss” in formal business letters.
TIP: Never use “Dear Sirs:” or any similar expression. Many editors will find this insulting, especially given that many of them are female!
[Para.1: 2–3 sentences] I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, [“Title”] for consideration as a [Journal Name][Article Type]. [One to two sentence “pitch” that summarizes the study design, where applicable, your research question, your major findings, and the conclusion.]
e.g., I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, “X Marks the Spot” for consideration as an Awesome Science Journal research article. We examined the efficacy of using X factors as indicators for depression in Y subjects in Z regions through a 12-month prospective cohort study and can confirm that monitoring the levels of X is critical to identifying the onset of depression, regardless of geographical influences.
TIP: Useful phrases to discuss your findings and conclusion include:
- Our findings confirm that…
- We have determined that…
- Our results suggest…
- We found that…
- We illustrate…
- Our findings reveal…
- Our study clarifies…
- Our research corroborates…
- Our results establish…
- Our work substantiates…
[Para. 2: 2–5 sentences] Given that [context that prompted your research], we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to the [Reader Profile] who subscribe to [Journal Name]. Our findings will allow your readers to [identify the aspects of the journal’s Aim and Scope that align with your paper].
TIP: Identify the journal’s typical audience and how those people can utilize your research to expand their understanding of a topic. For example, if many of your target journal’s readers are interested in the public policy implications of various research studies, you may wish to discuss how your conclusions can help your peers to develop stronger policies that more effectively address public concerns.
TIP: Include context about why this research question had to be addressed.
e.g., “Given the struggle policymakers have had to define proper criteria to diagnose the onset of depression in teenagers, we felt compelled to identify a cost-effective and universal methodology that local school administrators can use to screen students.”
TIP: If your paper was prompted by prior research, state this. For example, “After initially researching X, Y approached us to conduct a follow-up study that examined Z. While pursuing this project, we discovered [some new understanding that made you decide the information needed to be shared with your peers via publication.]”
e.g., Given the alarming increase in depression rates among teenagers and the lack of any uniform practical tests for screening students, we believe that the findings presented in our paper will appeal to education policymakers who subscribe to The Journal of Education . Although prior research has identified a few methods that could be used in depression screening, such as X and Y, the applications developed from those findings have been cost-prohibitive and difficult to administer on a national level. Thus, our findings will allow your readers to understand the factors involved in identifying the onset of depression in teenagers better and develop more cost-effective screening procedures that can be employed nationally. In so doing, we hope that our research advances the toolset needed to combat the concerns preoccupying the minds of many school administrators.
[Para 3: Similar works] “This manuscript expands on the prior research conducted and published by [Authors] in [Journal Name]” or “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored in the following papers also published by [Journal Name].”
TIP: You should mention similar studies recently published by your target journal, if any, but list no more than five. If you only want to mention one article, replace the preceding sentence with “This paper [examines a different aspect of]/ [takes a different approach to] the issues explored by [Authors] in [Article Title], also published by [Journal Name] on [DATE].”
[Para. 4: Additional statements often required] Each of the authors confirms that this manuscript has not been previously published and is not currently under consideration by any other journal. Additionally, all of the authors have approved the contents of this paper and have agreed to the [Journal Name]’s submission policies.
TIP: If you have previously publicly shared some form or part of your research elsewhere, state so. For example, you can say, “We have presented a subset of our findings [at Event]/ [as a Type of Publication Medium] in [Location] in [Year].”
e.g., We have since expanded the scope of our research to contemplate international feasibility and acquired additional data that has helped us to develop a new understanding of geographical influences.
[Para. 5: Potential Reviewers] Should you select our manuscript for peer review, we would like to suggest the following potential reviewers/referees because they would have the requisite background to evaluate our findings and interpretation objectively.
- [Name, institution, email, expertise]
To the best of our knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons have any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
TIP: Include 3–5 reviewers since it is likely that the journal will use at least one of your suggestions.
TIP: Use whichever term (“reviewer” or “referee”) your target journal uses. Paying close attention to a journal’s terminology is a sign that you have properly researched the journal and have prepared!
[Para. 6: Frequently requested additional information] Each named author has substantially contributed to conducting the underlying research and drafting this manuscript. Additionally, to the best of our knowledge, the named authors have no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
Corresponding Author Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]
Additional Contact [should the corresponding author not be available] Institution Title Institution/Affiliation Name [Institution Address] [Your e-mail address] [Tel: (include relevant country/area code)] [Fax: (include relevant country/area code)]
Quick Cover Letter Checklist Before Submission
- Set the font to Arial or Times New Roman, size 12 point.
- Single-space all text.
- Use one line space between body paragraphs.
- Do not indent paragraphs.
- Keep all text left justified.
- Use spelling and grammar check software. If needed, use a proofreading service or cover letter editing service such as Wordvice to review your letter for clarity and concision.
- Double-check the editor’s name. Call the journal to confirm if necessary.
- SpringerLink shop
A good cover letter can help to “sell” your manuscript to the journal editor. As well as introducing your work to the editor you can also take this opportunity to explain why the manuscript will be of interest to a journal's readers, something which is always as the forefront editors’ mind. As such it is worth spending time writing a coherent and persuasive cover letter.
The following is an example of a poor cover letter:
Dear Editor-in-Chief, I am sending you our manuscript entitled “Large Scale Analysis of Cell Cycle Regulators in bladder cancer” by Researcher et al. We would like to have the manuscript considered for publication in Pathobiology. Please let me know of your decision at your earliest convenience. With my best regards, Sincerely yours, A Researcher, PhD
Instead, check to see whether the journal’s Instructions for Authors have any cover letter requirements (e.g. disclosures, statements, potential reviewers). Then, write a letter that explains why the editor would want to publish your manuscript. The following structure covers all the necessary points that need to be included.
- If known, address the editor who will be assessing your manuscript by their name. Include the date of submission and the journal you are submitting to.
- First paragraph: include the title of your manuscript and the type of manuscript it is (e.g. review, research, case study). Then briefly explain the background to your study, the question you sought out to answer and why.
- Second paragraph: you should concisely explain what was done, the main findings and why they are significant.
- Third paragraph: here you should indicate why the readers of the journal would be interested in the work. Take your cues from the journal’s aims and scope. For example if the journal requires that all work published has broad implications explain how your study fulfils this. It is also a good idea to include a sentence on the importance of the results to the field.
- To conclude state the corresponding author and any journal specific requirements that need to be complied with (e.g. ethical standards).
TIP: All cover letters should contain these sentences:
- We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal.
- All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal].
Before submitting your manuscript, thoroughly check its quality one more time. Evaluate it critically—could anything be done better?
Be sure that:
- The manuscript follows the Instructions for Authors
- All files are in the correct file format and of the appropriate resolution or size
- The spelling and grammar are correct
- You have contact information for all authors
- You have written a persuasive cover letter
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Writing effective cover letters for journal submissions: Tips and a Word template
When you need to submit a cover letter with your manuscript, you'll probably write it just before submission. Like many other authors, you may find yourself wondering what to write and taking longer than you expected, causing last-minute delays and stress.
To help you write effective cover letters—and to write them quickly and easily—in this article we offer some tips on layout and appropriate wording. Also, you can download our template cover letter (Word file) to help you save time writing and help you remember to include standard author statements and other information commonly required by journals.
If you are submitting a revised paper to the same journal, note that the response letter to the reviewers is different from the cover letter used at initial submission. You can find tips and a template on writing effective response letters to the reviewers in our previous article .
Many journals require a cover letter and state this in their guidelines for authors (alternatively known as author guidelines, information for authors, guide for authors, guidelines for papers, submission guide, etc.). For some journals, a cover letter is optional or may not be not required, but it's probably a good idea to include one.
Why do some journals ask for cover letters?
Cover letters can be helpful to journal staff in the following ways.
1. Cover letters that include standard statements required by the journal allow the journal staff to quickly confirm that the authors have (or say they have) followed certain ethical research and publishing practices.
These statements assert that the authors followed standard practices, which may include (i) adhering to ethical guidelines for research involving humans ( Declaration of Helsinki ), involving animals ( ARRIVE guidelines ), or falling under institutional guidelines; (ii) obtaining ethics approval from institutional review boards or ethics committees; (iii) obtaining informed consent or assent from participants; (iv) complying with authorship criteria (e.g., ICMJE criteria ); (v) confirming no duplicate submissions have been made; and (vi) recommending reviewers for your paper, which may include specifying peers that you prefer not be contacted.
2. Cover letters can summarize your manuscript quickly for the journal editor, highlighting your most important findings and their implications to show why your manuscript would be of interest.
Some journals, such as Nature, state that while a cover letter is optional, it provides "an excellent opportunity to briefly discuss the importance of the submitted work and why it is appropriate for the journal." Some publishers, such as Springer , recommend that you write a cover letter to help "sell" your manuscript to the journal editor.
3. Cover letters that contain all of the information required by the journal (as stated in the guideline for authors) can indicate that you have spent time carefully formatting the manuscript to fit the journal's style. This creates a good first impression. Addressing the letter to a named editor at the journal also shows that you took the time to write your letter (and by extension, your manuscript) with care and considered the fit with the journal beyond just impact factor.
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What makes an effective cover letter?
Cover letters should be short—preferably no more than 1 page—and they often use single line spacing. The content can be broadly divided into six sections:
- Addressee's information and date of submission
- Opening salutation
- Purpose statement and administrative information
- Summary of main research findings and implications
- Statements or information required by the journal
- Closing salutation and your contact information
Let's look at some tips for each section. And don't forget to download the template , which shows these tips already in place.
1. Addressee's information and date of submission
- Check the journal's website for the name of the editor who handles submissions; this could be the Managing Editor or an editor assigned to your geographical region. If no handling editor is named, address your cover letter to the Editor-in-Chief. Some journals ask that you identify a specific editor for your specialty.
- Write the name of the addressee in the top left corner of the page.
- Write the date beneath. To minimize the number of line breaks used in your cover letter (and help keep it to one page of text), you can put the date to the right if you wish.
- Note that dates written as numerals only can be confusing: 02/03/2017 can be read "2 March 2017" in British and "3 February 2017" in American English. Using the format "3 February 2017" or "February 3, 2017" is clear.
2. Opening salutation
- Write the title and last name of the addressee (exclude the first name); for example, "Professor Brown" or "Dr. Baker" (British English: "Dr Baker").
- If you can't find a named editor on the journal website, then you can use the opening salutation "Dear Editor".
- At the end of the opening salutation, you can use a comma or a colon; that is, "Dear Dr. Baker," or "Dear Dr. Baker:" (British English uses the comma; American English uses either, but the colon is considered more formal).
3. Purpose statement and administrative information
- Clearly state the purpose of your letter (that you are submitting a manuscript) and then state your manuscript title, author names (or first author "Brown et al."), and article type (e.g., original paper).
- Be sure to use the journal's own terminology to refer to the article type; for example, some journals use the term "Regular Articles" for a full research paper, whereas others use "Original Submissions", "Full Papers", "Original Articles", among others.
- See the downloadable Word template for an example sentence that presents this information clearly and concisely.
- If your submission consists of many files, consider summarizing them in one short sentence so that the journal editor is sure all of the files have been received; for example, "There are 8 files in all: 1 main manuscript file, 1 highlights file, 3 figure files, 1 table file, 1 supplementary data file, and 1 supplementary figures file".
4. Summary of main research findings and implications
- In a new paragraph, summarize the purpose of your research (the research gap or problem it addresses), the main findings, and finally the implications of these findings. This is your main chance to highlight the value of your work to the journal editor, so keep this short and focused. (Journal editors may receive thousands of submissions annually, and many fulfill editing duties on top of their own research and teaching schedule, so you should strive to make their jobs easier by providing as concise a summary as possible.)
- Be sure to tailor your statements so that they're in line with the readership of the journal. For example, if you are submitting to a more general journal that has a diverse readership, underscore the possible impact your findings could have in multiple fields. Conversely, if you are submitting to a publication with narrow scope, you can write about your findings in highly focused terms.
- Avoid simply reproducing sentences verbatim from the abstract—which the journal editor will likely read next. Instead, if you take sentences from your abstract as a base to work from, then try to craft a much shorter summary that clearly fits the journal's focus and that highlights the implications of your work for the journal's readers. In fact, Nature guidelines state specifically to "avoid repeating information that is already present in the abstract and introduction."
- When stating that you think your work is a good fit for the journal, be sure not to use exaggerated flattery. Avoid using words like "esteemed" and "prestigious" to describe the journal: "We believe that these findings will be of interest to the readers of your esteemed/prestigious journal."
- It's helpful to the journal editor to state if your work directly relates to a paper published by another author in the same journal. Also, mention if your study closely relates to or extends your previously published work, so it is clear why your submitted manuscript is novel or important enough to publish.
Common phrases in this paragraph:
Summarizing the purpose of your research
- This study presents/summarizes/examines…
- X remains a problem for (engineers/software developers/local government). In this study, we (examined/investigated/developed and tested)…
Presenting your main results
- Our main findings/results were that…
- The most interesting/important findings were that…
- Most importantly, our findings can improve/reduce/help…
Highlighting the relevance of your findings
- These findings should enable (engineers/doctors/local government) to…
- We believe that these findings will be of interest to the readers of your journal.
5. Statements or information required by the journal
- In this new paragraph, provide any statements that the journal requires be included in your cover letter. Be sure to review the journal's guidelines to know what information you should provide.
- Some journals or publishers have very specific requirements. For example, PLOS requires that authors describe any prior interactions with the journal in the cover letter, as well as suggest appropriate Academic Editors from the journal's editorial board to handle the submission.
- Some journals require that sentences are provided verbatim in the cover letter. The guidelines will tell you to copy and paste the sentence provided in quotation marks into the cover letter. For example, Springer states that cover letters should contain two specific sentences: "We confirm that this manuscript has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration by another journal" and "All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to [insert the name of the target journal]."
- Several statements pertaining to research and publication ethics are commonly required by journals across a broad range of fields. These are given in our downloadable Word template . When using the template, you can retain the statements in full, revise them slightly as appropriate to your circumstances, replace them with any similar wording required by the journal, or delete them if they do not fit your specific situation.
Previous contact with the journal
- We state that we have had no previous contact with the journal regarding this submission.
- We previously contacted the journal to inquire about/to check whether…
Conflict of interests and financial disclosures
- The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
- X.Y. advises Company A and has received lecture fees from Company B.
- This study was supported by a grant from Z.
- No financial support was received for this study/work.
- A.B. conceived the study, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript; C.D. analyzed the data…
- All authors have approved the manuscript and agree with its submission to the journal.
- All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of this work.
- Potential reviewers for our manuscript are:
- We believe that the following individual(s) would be well suited to reviewing our manuscript.
Request to exclude reviewers
- We request that the following individual(s) not be approached to review our manuscript (because…).
- We declare that this manuscript has not been published before, in whole or in part, and is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere.
- This study was presented in part at…
- This study was previously published in Japanese (citation) and…
6. Closing salutation and your contact information
- Briefly thank the journal editor for considering the manuscript and follow this with the full contact information of the corresponding author (name, academic degrees or professional qualifications; affiliation and postal address; telephone (and fax); email).
- Be sure to maintain a collegial tone to leave the journal editor with the best impression as he or she finishes reading your cover letter and moves on to evaluate your manuscript.
- Avoid statements that could be construed as presuming to give instructions to the editor. For example, "we look forward to your review of our manuscript" implicitly directs the editor to review your paper. Also, we look forward to hearing from you "at your earliest convenience/as soon as possible" implicitly directs the editor to communicate with you quickly; instead, simply use a neutral but polite phrase such as "we look forward to hearing from you" or "we look forward to hearing from you in due course".
- A suitable closing salutation is "Sincerely," or "Yours sincerely,"
Although the cover letter is not, strictly speaking, a part of your manuscript, it can affect how your submission is perceived by the journal editor. A cover letter that is tailored to the journal, introduces your work persuasively, and is free from spelling and grammatical errors can help prime the editor to view your submission positively before he or she even looks over your manuscript.
We hope our tips and Word template can help you create professional, complete cover letters in a time-effective way. Our specialist editors, translators, and writers are available to help create or revise the content to be error-free and, as part of our additional comprehensive Guidelines for Authors service , we can ensure the cover letter includes all of the statements required by the journal.
Lastly, just as a reminder for members of ThinkSCIENCE's free annual rewards program , remember to claim your reward of free editing or translation of one cover letter alongside editing or translation of a full paper before the end of the March!
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Writing a Journal Cover Letter [Free Template]
- Research Process
- Peer Review
Journal cover letters are your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. This AJE Journal Cover Letter Guide offers some useful tips for getting them right. It also includes a free journal cover letter template.
Updated on September 20, 2018
The cover letter accompanying your journal submission is your chance to lobby on behalf of your manuscript. The letter is far from just a formality and should be written with the same care as your manuscript's text (if not more). Ultimately, your cover letter is designed to influence the decision of the editor to send your manuscript out for peer review. The letter will argue that your manuscript is a good fit for the journal you are submitting it to and highlight your most important findings. Let us help you produce the most effective cover letter possible.
Getting ready to submit your manuscript? Download our comprehensive Free Journal Cover Letter Writing Guide with Template
A cover letter should be written like a standard business letter :
Address the editor formally by name, if known. Include your contact information, as well. This information is probably available through the journal's online submission system, but it is proper to provide it in the cover letter, too.
Begin your cover letter with a paragraph that states the name of the manuscript and the names of the authors. You can also describe what type of manuscript your submission is (research article, review, case report , etc.). In this first paragraph and the next, describe the rationale behind your study and the major findings from your research. You can refer to prior work that you have published if it is directly related.
Next, write a short paragraph that explains why your manuscript would be a good fit for the journal. Do not simply state that your manuscript is “of interest to the field” or “novel.” Address specific aspects of the journal's Aims & Scope statement. If the journal expresses interest in research with a clinical application, be sure to highlight the importance of your work in terms of clinical implications. If the journal mentions that it focuses on nanostructured materials, explain how your work involved such materials. Even if your work is not a perfect fit for the journal, be sure to address some of the Aims & Scope statement, and explain why your manuscript would be of interest to the journal's readers.
Finally, close with a brief paragraph indicating the following:
- The manuscript is original (i.e., you wrote it, not copied it)
- No part of the manuscript has been published before, nor is any part of it under consideration for publication at another journal
- There are no conflicts of interest to disclose
- A list of potential reviewers (only if requested by the journal)
- Any researchers who should NOT review your manuscript
Together, this information provides assurance to the editor that your manuscript merits consideration for publication in their journal and that you are interested specifically in their journal. Sometimes great science will be reviewed regardless of the cover letter, but a well written cover letter is useful for the vast majority of scientists who want to make their research stand out.
Best of luck with your research! If you have any questions about your cover letter, write us anytime.
Journal Cover Letter Templates
Click here to download a Microsoft Word template for a standard journal cover letter (also available with instructions in Chinese , Japanese , Korean , Portuguese , and Spanish ). A full set of the information in this post can be found here .
Ben Mudrak, PhD
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- Cover Letter
- Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write
Cover Letter for Journal Submission: Sample & How To Write
You spent months doing research and documenting it in a neat manuscript. Make sure it gets published with this guide to cover letters for journal submissions
Every day, you help the world to move forward. Conducting research, performing tests, and working on scientific experiments are a part of your routine. The data you’ve collected must be processed and presented in a neat manuscript.
But wait. Who’s going to read it? Oh, right. You must have an audience. But not just any audience—you need scientists like you to read and review your paper. And to reach them, you must send your work to scientific journals.
To make sure your groundbreaking findings get published in reputable journals, you must write a professional cover letter for journal submission.
This guide will show you:
- A cover letter for journal submissions better than 9 out of 10 others.
- A sample cover letter for manuscript submission that gets your work published.
- A step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter for a journal submission.
- How a neat abstract can put your scientific career on the right track.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that adapt to your content and already have all the formatting in place. Make your document look perfect with zero effort!
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That’s a sample cover letter for a journal submission made with our builder. See more cover letter templates and create your cover letter here .
Check this cover letter for journal submission sample:Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample
Sushmita Devi, M. Sc.
Psychology Research Fellow, Indian Institute of Psychology & Research, Bangalore
+91 82 97651366
The International Journal of Indian Psychology
Sardar Patel University
Vallabh Vidyanagar, 388120
Dear Mr. Sur,
I'm honoured to submit my manuscript entitled " Life dissatisfaction and anxiety levels among teenage Instagram users in Bangalore " to be considered for publication as a case report in The International Journal of Indian Psychology.
As a psychology research fellow at the Indian Institute of Psychology & Research in Bangalore, I have focused on working with youth from various socioeconomic backgrounds. While serving as a counsellor, I've noticed high general anxiety levels, body image issues, eating disorders, and overall life dissatisfaction among 13–18-year-olds who used Instagram regularly and extensively.
I’ve conducted interviews with 168 individuals who declared active use of Instagram, defined as posting on their profiles at least once per day and interacting with the platform for more than 4 hours a day. Each individual filled out a self-assessment questionnaire to provide an overview of their self-esteem and to describe their Instagram habits. After gathering this preliminary data, I have discussed the answers with each participant and further evaluated their mental health.
Since social media is increasingly recognized as a major influence on children and teenagers, it’s also more often seen as a problem by parents and teachers. I believe that the findings presented in my case report may appeal to child psychologists, counsellors, social workers, and educators. Understanding the correlation between Instagram use and mental wellbeing can lead to the creation of health campaigns and establishing ways to enhance the positive effect of social media while minimizing the negative outcomes.
This manuscript examines a different aspect of the issues covered in the following papers also published by The International Journal of Indian Psychology:
- "The effect of Instagram addiction on quality of life among undergraduate students in Mysuru" by Schwann S Akanksh, Lancy D’Souza, Manish S, published in December 2020.
- "Social Media Use and Social Anxiety among Adolescents" by Cheryl Jolly, published in February 2022
- "Social Media Usage and Social Appearance Anxiety in Young Adults" by Teresa Sharon M A, Zidan Kachhi, Dr. Deepthi Vijayan, published in August 2021.
I declare that this manuscript is original and has not been published before. It is not currently being considered for publication elsewhere. No financial support was received for this study.
As the only author, I have approved the final version of the manuscript and agree to be accountable for all aspects of this work.
I believe that the following individuals would be well suited to reviewing my manuscript:
- Dr. Ehsaan Muni, University of Calcutta, Associate Professor specializing in child and adolescent mental health disorders: [email protected]
- Dr. Nupoor Golla, Banaras Hindu University, Assistant Professor specializing in cross-cultural health psychology: [email protected]
- Dr. Baldev Mutti, Bangalore University, Assistant Professor specializing in child psychology: [email protected]
To the best of my knowledge, none of the above-suggested persons has any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Indian Institute of Psychology & Research
St. Anthony's Friary, #85, Hosur Road, Bangalore-560095
See? Not that complicated! Yet, it brings you a few steps closer to getting that research paper published.
Thinking of improving on your resume to better present yourself to the academic community? Check this guide: How to Write a Resume for a Job: See a Good Sample & Guide
Now, let’s see how to write a cover letter for journal submission:
1. Start With the Proper Cover Letter for Journal Submission Template
Appearances matter. You wouldn’t wear a baggy T-shirt and shorts to an academic conference. In the same way, you don’t want your cover letter for journal submission to look sloppy.
Follow these steps to create a professional template:
Cover Letter for Journal Submission Checklist
- Add your contact information, degree, name of the institution
- List the editor’s name, the name of the journal, address, and submission date
- Greet the editor by name: Dear Mr./Mrs. XYZ
- Say the title of your manuscript
- Explain your motivation behind this paper
- Summarize the research in an abstract
- Highlight why readers might be interested in your paper
- Mention past papers from this journal that explored similar themes
- Add mandatory declarations
- Point to potential reviewers
- Regards + your info
Interested in writing a cover letter as well? Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter in India: Examples & Full Guide
2. Begin Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission Strong
Scientific journals receive hundreds of submissions on a daily basis. Even if your research is truly groundbreaking, they might overlook it.
Hoping to see your name in The Lancet ? Then start with putting it in your cover letter! Make sure to also include your contact information, degree, and the academic institution that backs you up. Then, list the information of the chief editor you’re addressing.
But that’s not all!
The first paragraph of your cover letter for journal submission must present the title of your manuscript. It’s also worth noting the type of article, such as review, case study, research, etc. Then, explain why you’ve conducted your research and mention the main findings.
Cover Letter for Journal Submission Sample
This example presents the themes of the manuscript in a clear and concise manner. It includes all the essential information.
While the title of the article sounds promising, the information provided by the author doesn’t explain why they chose this particular subject and what they focused on.
Pro Tip: Many journals, including Nature , Science , and Elsevier , list the exact information required in the cover letter for journal submissions. Make sure to check the requirements of your preferred journal before writing your cover letter!
3. Put the Abstract in the Middle of Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
The editor’s attention spiked after the intro, but now it dropped.
Because you started rambling about your unique findings without mentioning how you got to these conclusions. They’ve decided you’re just a dreamer with no facts to back up your ideas.
Don’t try to shake the world—first, prove you know what you’re talking about:
- Describe your scientific methods and type of data you’ve collected.
- Mention why your study is important and who might benefit from it.
- List articles that covered similar themes.
See? There’s no need for a lengthy essay here.
Check this cover letter for journal submission sample to see what I’m talking about:
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Middle Part
You’ve got it all! This shows the editor you know what you’re talking about. You aren’t a pseudo-scientist trying to push your intuitive beliefs on others.
Ouch. That’s really vague. It doesn’t seem convincing—maybe the author isn’t really a scientist?
Pro Tip: Writing about your research in English may not be as natural to you as chatting with fellow researchers over lunch. Studies show that many papers from non-English speaking authors are regularly rejected by editors because of incorrect grammar. If you need to improve your language skills, consider joining courses specifically for scientists, such as Coursera’s English for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics .
When making a resume and a cover letter in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional resume template here for free .
When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.
4. Add Mandatory Declarations to Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
Now, this is a very easy part.
Most journals require authors to include various statements. They provide backing for the journal in case of legal issues.
Those may include:
- Statement that none of the material has been previously published or is currently under consideration for publication in another journal
- Statement that informed consent was obtained for investigations on humans
- Statement that animals’ care during the study was in accordance with local guidelines
- Statement regarding possible conflict of interest, funding sources, competing interests, etc.
To make sure you included all required clauses, always check the requirements of the journal.
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Mandatory Clauses
It’s clear and easy to understand. The required statements are covered here.
There aren’t enough details here. It’s always best to just paraphrase the clauses listed in submission requirements.
Pro Tip: Always be upfront about a potential conflict of interest, especially when your research was financed by a private institution. There’s no shame in getting private funding! In the U.S., over 70% of research and development is funded by the private sector .
5. Finish Your Cover Letter for Journal Submission
Now it’s time for the last step: the ending!
But before you can click “send” on your submission, there’s one more important thing.
That’s one of the goals of your submission—to get your article reviewed by other scientists. This way, you become more trustworthy. It will also help to gain interest in your research, which might lead to future job opportunities.
Think of 3–5 persons from the academic community who might be interested in your research. It’s best if they study similar themes or published articles on related topics. Pay attention to potential conflicts of interest!
Cover Letter for Journal Submission—Ending
It’s pretty clear why these individuals could be interested in reviewing this article—they all specialize in similar topics.
A great cover letter that matches your CV will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here . Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
This is the easiest formula to write a cover letter for journal submission:
- Use the proper format for a cover letter for journal submission to make sure you include essential information.
- State the reasoning behind your article.
- Show your methods to prove you’re a serious scientist.
- Point to readers who could benefit from your research.
- Include mandatory statements.
- Mention potential reviewers.
Now get to writing!
Not sure how to customize your cover letter to the journal’s requirements? Having trouble describing your research methods? Leave a comment below. I’ll be happy to assist you!
What is a Cover Letter for a Resume / CV / Job Application
To send or not to send, that is the question. Cover letters can be a secret weapon in the job hunt today. Here’s why.
Cover Letter for Internship: Format & Sample [No Experience]
Worried you won’t get accepted for an internship? Boost your chances of success with a cover letter for internship applications that will put you miles ahead of your competition.
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Looking for a free resume template to download and edit? Well, here it is: our selection of 20+ free resume templates for freshers and pros, ready to be downloaded.
How to Write an Effective Cover Letter for Journal Submission | Example Cover Letter
When submitting your manuscript to a journal, it is important to include a well-written cover letter which could help your paper to reach the next level of the process. A good cover letter can voice your manuscript on behalf of you to the journal editor. You can take this opportunity to describe why your manuscript will be of importance and interesting to the journal’s readers, which is something that every journal editor looks for. Therefore, it is worth spending time to write a coherent and convincing cover letter for journal article submission. This article provides the best cover letter example format for your easy understanding.
Before start writing your cover letter, check the instructions for authors of your journal for any specific information to be included in the cover letter. Some journals suggest including few additional details in the cover letter.
The cover letter should claim that your article is a good fit for the journal and it should highlight your major research findings. Specify the theme or scope of the journal under which you are submitting the manuscript. The author should assure the editor that there are no conflicts of interest to publish your manuscript.
To help you with this, iLovePhD imparts you how to write an effective cover letter to a journal for research article submission, providing examples of what should be included, what should not be included, and a sample template of the cover letter.
Key points to include:
- Editor’s name (you can find this on the journal webpage ).
- Name of the journal
- Your article’s title
- Brief description of the novelty of the research and emphasis on your major research findings.
- A statement that your paper is not currently under consideration by another journal
- Contact information for you and any co-authors
- Confirm that you have no conflicts of interest
- A list of potential reviewers (If asked by the journal)
- Any researchers/reviewers who should not review your manuscript (If asked by the journal)
Points to avoid:
- Keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page (brief introduction and overview).
- Don’t copy your abstract into your cover letter; instead explain significance and novelty of your work in your own words.
- Don’t use too much jargon or acronyms; instead use simple, easy and straightforward language.
- Avoid spelling and grammar errors and ensure your letter is professional before submitting.
Example Cover Letter for Journal Submission
The best cover letter example for any publication (elsevier, wiley, IEEE, springer, pubmed, taylor and francis, and SAGE ) shown below:
Dr. / Prof. (Editor’s name)
Dear Dr. /Prof. ( Editor’s name)
I/we wish to submit a research manuscript entitled “(title of research article)” for publishing in your esteemed journal. ( Briefly describe your research work in your own words. Don’t paste your abstract here. Clearly explain the novelty of your work and its significance and the reason to choose this journal for publication .)
I/we declare that all the authors ( all the authors’ name ) of this manuscript agreed to submit the manuscript to the journal ( Journal name ). We also agree to transfer copyright from the authors to the journal. The manuscript has been prepared as per the journal’s guidelines and checked for language correction.
I/we do confirm that this work is original and the manuscript is not currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Please address all the correspondence pertaining to this manuscript to me at ( email address ).
( Your name )
I Hope, this article helps you to know how to write an effective cover letter with an example to a journal for research article submission.
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The cover letter is a formal way to communicate with journal editors and editorial staff during the manuscript submission process. Most often, a cover letter is needed when authors initially submit their manuscript to a journal and when responding to reviewers during an invitation to revise and resubmit the manuscript. For more information on the peer review process and possible manuscript decisions, see Section 12.7 of the Publication Manual .
Because cover letters are separate documents from the manuscript file, all correspondence during the publication process must include the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript is first received). Although any author may correspond with the journal editor or editorial staff, most correspondence is handled by the corresponding author , who serves as the main point of contact and responds to questions about the published article. All authors should decide prior to submission who will serve as the corresponding author.
This guidance has been expanded from the 6th edition.
Cover letter for manuscript submission to a journal
Authors usually must include a cover letter when they first submit their manuscript to a journal for publication . The cover letter is typically uploaded as a separate file into the online submission portal for the journal (for more information on using an online submission portal, see Section 12.10 of the Publication Manual ).
The cover letter should be addressed to the journal editor; any interim correspondence is addressed to the editor or associate editor with whom you have been in communication.
In your submission cover letter, include the following information:
- manuscript title
- manuscript authors
- assurances that all authors agree with the content of the manuscript and with the order of authorship (for more information, see Sections 1.21–1.22 of the Publication Manual )
- assurances that the corresponding author will take responsibility for informing coauthors of editorial decisions, reviews received, and any changes or revisions made
- information about the existence of any closely related manuscripts that have been submitted for simultaneous consideration to the same or to another journal
- notice of any conflicts of interest or activities that might be seen as influencing the research (for more information, see Section 1.20 of the Publication Manual )
- a request for masked review, if that is an option for the journal and desired (for more information, see Section 12.7 of the Publication Manual )
- verification that the treatment of human participants or nonhuman animal subjects was in accordance with established ethical standards (for more information, see Sections 1.18 and 12.13 of the Publication Manual )
- a copy of any permissions to reproduce copyrighted material or a notice that permissions are pending (for more information, see Sections 12.14–12.18 of the Publication Manual )
- the telephone number, email address, and mailing address of the corresponding author
Check the journal’s website for the current editor’s name and for any other journal-specific information to include in your cover letter.
Cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript
Also include a cover letter with manuscripts being resubmitted to a journal after receiving an invitation to revise and resubmit. Ensure the cover letter contains the complete manuscript title, the authors’ names, and the manuscript number (assigned by the journal when the manuscript was first received). In the cover letter for the resubmission, thank the editors and reviewers for their feedback and outline the changes you made (or did not make) to the manuscript to address the feedback.
The cover letter for a revised and resubmitted manuscript summarizes the changes to the manuscript. Along with the cover letter and revised manuscript, authors should also provide a response to reviewers , which is a detailed document explaining how they responded to each comment.
Sample cover letters
These sample cover letters demonstrate how authors can communicate with the journal editor at the initial manuscript submission and following an invitation to revise and resubmit a manuscript for publication.
- Sample Cover Letter for Manuscript Submission (PDF, 73KB)
- Sample Cover Letter for a Revised and Resubmitted Manuscript (PDF, 91KB)
A sample solicitation letter provides an example correspondence sent by organizations seeking to collect donations. These letters are often produced by non-profit groups to raise funds for specific projects or daily operations.
A sample reinstatement letter is intended to guide a person to learn how to write a reinstatement letter. Even though there are different situations for reinstatement, it provides the basic parts that help to provide concise details and rea...
A sample renunciation form for U.S. citizenship is available from the U.S. Consulate in Amsterdam, which provides a copy of Form DS-4080: Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality, on its website at Amsterdam.Usconsulate.gov.
When writing for publication, a well-written cover letter can help your paper reach the next stage of the manuscript submission process – being sent out for
[Para.1: 2–3 sentences] I am writing to submit our manuscript entitled, [“Title”] for consideration as a [Journal Name][
A good cover letter can help to “sell” your manuscript to the journal editor. As well as introducing your work to the editor you can also take this
What makes an effective cover letter? · Addressee's information and date of submission · Opening salutation · Purpose statement and administrative information
Cover letter template for a journal article submission ... Dear [Editor's name],. I'm writing to submit my article entitled [Article's title] for
Address the editor formally by name, if known. · Begin your cover letter with a paragraph that states the name of the manuscript and the names of the authors.
Article type: I am enclosing herewith a manuscript entitled “manuscript title” for publication in Journal name for possible evaluation. The Corresponding author
Dear Sirs,. I'd like you to consider my article “Troubles in early detection of childhood depression among children from Scheduled Castes” for
Example Cover Letter for Journal Submission ... I/we wish to submit a research manuscript entitled “(title of research article)” for publishing in
If you choose to do so, please provide the name of the journal and the date of the decision letter. All authors have approved the submission of this manuscript.
The cover letter is a formal way to communicate with journal editors and editorial staff during the manuscript submission process. Most often, a cover